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Angry Mankins wants a trade

Lineman, Patriots hit contract block

By Shalise Manza Young and Albert R. Breer
Globe Staff / June 15, 2010

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FOXBOROUGH — It’s just a guess, but based on the wildly differing claims in regards to Logan Mankins’s contract situation, things will not end well between the left guard and the Patriots.

To start, Mankins yesterday declared his desire to be traded.

“At this point, I’m pretty frustrated, from everything that’s happened and the way negotiations have gone,’’ he told ESPN Boston. “I want to be traded. I don’t need to be here anymore.’’

Because of the rules in this uncapped year in the NFL, players with four and five years experience are restricted free agents. Their teams can offer them one of five different one-year contract tenders, each carrying a different salary and compensation if a player signs elsewhere.

The Patriots tendered Mankins, 28, at the highest level, which would pay him $3.268 million (non-guaranteed) this season; had he agreed to an offer sheet from another team, the Patriots would have received first- and third-round draft picks.

Last night at 11:59 was the deadline for Mankins to sign his tender and receive the full salary amount tendered.

Mankins, who had not been heard from since the season ended, claimed the team misled him about doing a new contract.

“After the 2008 season, me and my agent approached the Patriots about an extension and I was told that Mr. Kraft did not want to do an extension because of the [NFL labor situation],’’ Mankins said. “I was asked to play ’09 out, and that they would address the contract during the uncapped year. I’m a team player, I took them at their word, and I felt I played out an undervalued contract.

“Right now, this is about principle with me and keeping your word and how you treat people. This is what I thought the foundation of the Patriots was built on. Apparently, I was wrong. Growing up, I was taught a man’s word is his bond. Obviously this isn’t the case with the Patriots.’’

In an e-mail, the two-time Pro Bowler confirmed to the Globe he wants to be traded but offered no further comment.

The situation was turned up another notch when the Globe learned the Patriots made a fair-market offer to Mankins.

According to an NFL source, a five-year deal worth approximately $7 million per year has been on the table “for a significant amount of time,’’ which would have placed Mankins among the top five highest-paid players at his position.

There was no word on how much guaranteed money was in the offer or what the contract structure was; in NFL deals, compensation is most important within the first three years, since players are almost certain to see that money.

Saints right guard Jhari Evans, who was also a restricted free agent, set a standard for interior linemen last month when he signed a seven-year, $56.7 million pact worth a reported $25.7 million over the first three years.

In 2006, the Vikings and Steve Hutchinson sent guard salaries skyrocketing. Hutchinson received a seven-year deal averaging $7 million.

Mankins has been an incredibly durable player since he was chosen in the first round, 32d overall, out of Fresno State in 2005. Inserted into the starting lineup from Day 1, he has never missed a game.

What happens from here will be highly interesting. The source said New England has reduced Mankins’s tender to 110 percent of his 2009 salary, which amounts to $1.54 million, meaning it has been sliced more than half. The team had that option because Mankins did not sign the original tender by the deadline.

It is unknown what the Patriots would want in return for Mankins in a trade, or if they are open to trading him. Kansas City, Dallas, Green Bay, and St. Louis are among teams in need of offensive line help.

If Mankins does not sign and unless the sides come to an agreement, he can stay home until Week 10, the date players must report to gain an accrued season of service.

Mankins can’t lose out on that sixth season if he reports by Week 10, since under the current rules only players with six or more years of NFL service can be unrestricted free agents.

Shalise Manza Young can be reached at syoung@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @shalisemyoung.

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